At a very young age – even before entering kindergarten – Julie Smith, RN, found her passion. “I started playing classical violin when I was four years old,” she recalls. Her love for music and the violin continued as she grew older. “I was a music major in college.” After graduation, a chance conversation with a friend at church put her professional career on a completely different course. “I couldn’t stand the sight of blood.” Had Julie not taken a chance on her first job in health care, she wouldn’t have found the job or the place she says she never wants to leave. “I say it all the time. I’m surrounded by such wonderful people. I couldn’t ask for a better place to go to work.”
Twenty-two years ago, Julie, a relatively new RN, took another leap of faith after starting in health care as an orderly. She had moved through various positions leading her to nursing and ultimately the operating room. “That’s what I wanted to do,” she adds. When physicians who worked alongside her were starting their own hospital, they asked Julie to consider coming onboard. “They said it was a chance to put my mark on the world and to give it a try.”
Now the director of surgical services for Physicians Surgical Hospitals, it was a move that worked out many times over. “I opened the doors here,” Julie shares. “There was literally no equipment, no instruments and no furniture.”
Starting as a staff RN in the operating room, Julie quickly moved up to manager, where she grew in her career over 19 years. She was there every step of the way while Physicians Surgical Hospitals became more established, built on a culture of excellence, mutual respect and family-like support and encouragement. “We pride ourselves on keeping physicians and employees,” Julie shares. “Not only are our patients happy, but our employees are as well.” It is an environment, Julie says, that has been thoughtfully designed to exceed patients’ and employees’ expectations.
“Every patient gets a call after they go home so that we have a finger on the pulse and know how we can help,” she says. “Here at the hospital you will never hear someone say, ‘That’s not my job.’ We care about our patients and we care about each other. It’s a support system. Every department is cross-trained so that if we need anything, in an instant someone will come running to help. It’s something we’ve all come to know and live here.”
Working at Physicians Surgical Hospitals, Julie says, is a home away from home. In many ways, the physicians, nurses and staff are very much a family. “We have one dining room,” Julie adds. “The physicians, nurses and employees all eat together. We’re a big family. When things happen, everyone comes together and lifts you up in prayer. We’re here for each other.”
Physicians Surgical Hospitals has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as a “Best Place to Work in Healthcare” four years, topping the list in the small provider category the last two years in a row. The hospital that started 22 years ago as only an idea and empty building, today houses fulfilling, satisfying careers providing exceptional patient care. Julie is not the only one who never left. “People don’t leave here,” she admits. “When we do have an opening, even if it is PRN, people jump at the chance to get their foot in the door. I’m involved in every interview. I tell them to expect great things here – that’s what you’ll get.”
It is an expectation Julie feels fortunate to have experienced herself, though unexpected when music had her heart. “I feel so blessed,” she says. “I love my job.”
is a BSA and Physician-owned award-winning hospital.
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